Feds make $1.2B DC Metro Silver Line loan official

file photo

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced this week that a $1.2 billion loan from the federal government to help with construction of the second phase of construction on the Washington, D.C.’s Metrorail subway system’s Silver Line has been finalized. 

The loan, which is guaranteed through the DOT’s Transportation Infrastructure Financial Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, is intended to help defray cost on the approximately $3 billion extension of the recently-opened Silver Line to Washington’s Dulles International Airport. 

The loan was first announced in May, when northern Virginia officials were scrambling to finish testing on the first half of the Silver Line extension, which runs from Largo, Md. to Reston, Va. with stops in downtown Washington. 

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Foxx said “the first phase of the Silver Line has been an overwhelming success, and we look forward to ensuring the second half is just as successful, with the help of this $1.28 billion loan from the federal government. 

“When complete, the Silver Line will help residents and visitors get where they need to go safely, quickly and affordably,” the DOT chief said in a statement. “It’s the kind of project we’d like to see more of, and one way to do that is  if Congress will support our GROW AMERICA Act to provide long-term funding for transit systems, roads and bridges nationwide.”

The federal government contributed about $900 million to the construction of the first half of the D.C. Metro Silver Line. 

Transportation department officials have the new loan is the largest ever awarded under the DOT's popular TIFIA program, which allows states to compete for funding for local projects that can be leveraged to win money from other sources.

The first phase of the Silver Line terminates about five miles short of Dulles airport in Reston, Va. 

The second phase of the line, which is scheduled to include the stop at Dulles, is not set to open until 2018. Construction on the second phase of the new Metro line is expected to begin this year.

The entire Silver Line is expected to cost $5.6 billion to construct. The bulk of the funding for the line beyond the federal government's initial investment and the loan that Foxx said was finalized this week for the second phase is slated to be paid for by revenue from toll increases on the highway that connects Dulles airport to the Capital Beltway highway.